I think we can all agree that All Star Superman is the best Superman story since Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow; if you disagree let me know in the comments.. but if you remain quiet, I’ll just assume that my statement is 100% correct. Morrison has always had a good handle on Superman, but it’s not often that we see his Clark Kent.
And what a Clark Kent he was, and I think we all know that it had a little bit more to do with Frank Quitely’s rendition of the bumbling farm boy:
Most artists would have drawn Clark has slightly smaller than Superman, or maybe just forgone the whole thing and drawn him the same proportions as Supes. Instead Quitely gives us a Clark Kent who’s oafish and too big for his own good: this is especially apparent in the visit with Lex Luthor in issue #5. He’s constantly clumping around, all hunched over, with his head looking down.
With the release of the Absolute edition a few weeks back, I poured over each enlarged page looking at all the beautiful amount of details that Quitely puts into his art. It’s almost enough to actually take away from the building momentum of Morrison’s script. I spent a good ten minutes on each panel, engrossing myself into the world that the two have built.
The back of the Absolute has some great back matter, a lot of it pertains to ideas and concepts that Morrison had to drop – which is a shame – and the rest is dedicated to expanding upon the characters present within the book.
the greatest loss of the book is this sketch – which would have been one of ‘those’ moments – of Clark Kent becoming Superman.
Look at the detail that Quitely is putting into this sketch!
Watch as Clark Kent literally transforms from nebbish reporter to the Last Son of Krypton. His shoulders pull back, within the span of two people he gains confidence and direction, his posture changes and you completely understand why no one would think Clark Kent is Superman. Glasses are just part of his Kent costume – it’s about the way he carries himself.
It’s amazing and it’s breath-taking.
It’s really a shame this sequence didn’t make it into the book. As this is the sort of thing that people talk about when Quitely’s name comes up. For those of you who want to learn about Quitely’s technique I’d really recommend checking out Death To The Universe‘s post on Mr. Frank Quitely.
In the meantime, I hope you’ve put Absolute All Star Superman on your Christmas list.